press release

Anne and Patrick Poirier. ROMAMOR
01.03.2019 - 05.05.2019

ROMAMOR is an exhibition curated by Chiara Parisi, the first personal exhibition in Italy by the French artists couple Anne and Patrick Poirier, presented at the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, from March 1 to May 5, 2019.

This exhibition rounds off the ambitious program curated by Chiara Parisi, from 2015 to 2018, commissioning projects by leading artists such as Annette Messager, Yoko Ono and Claire Tabouret, Elizabeth Peyton and Camille Claudel, Tatiana Trouvé and Katharina Grosse. Not to mention the many international names who contributed to the Ouvert la Nuit (Open at Night), collective exhibition in the gardens, the two large-scale exhibitions celebrating the explorations and creations of the Villa's residents: Swimming is Saving and Take Me (I’m yours).

Anne and Patrick Poirier are one of the international art scene's most famous couples. Their creative symbiosis crystallized here at the Villa Medici more than fifty years ago: a kind of archeology driven by the test of time, the traces and scars of its passing, the fragility of the things humans build, and the power of ruins ancient and recent. All this in a spirit combining play and imaginative melancholy.

Anne was born in 1941, in Marseille. Patrick in 1942, in Nantes. The striking thing about their oeuvre is the mark it bears of the violence of the time they have lived through. From their earliest years these two artists have been confronted with war and devastation: Anne beginning with the bombing of the port of Marseille, Patrick with the death of his father during the destruction of central Nantes in 1943.

Both winners of the Rome Prize in 1967 after studying at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris, Anne and Patrick Poirier stayed at the Villa Medici from 1968 to 1972, at the invitation of Balthus. That was when they decided to embark on the collaborative artistic adventure that led to the works bearing their dual signature.

Part of the generation of artists who began traveling and taking in the world in the 1970s, Anne and Patrick Poirier became fascinated by ancient cities and settlements, and more especially by the process of their disappearance.

Out of this distinctive sensibility emerged mysterious cities, imaginary archeological recreations, a passion for ruins, investigations of the nature of gardens, and ablending of historical works from the seventies and site-specific creations. These are the sources for the ROMAMOR exhibition at the Villa Medici.

The exhibition includes new artworks in the Villa Medici gardens, amongst them Le Labyrinthe du cerveau (The Labyrinth of the Brain, 2019), the artists have drawn the shape of the brain, with its two hemispheres, in Carrara marble: a "bicephalous autobiographical manifesto", a meeting of their minds, and a symbol of the themes—the mechanisms of time's passing—they have been indefatigably exploring for more than fifty years. Their constructions are enormous brains, landscapes to be circled. As they are fond of saying, "The image of the brain and its two hemispheres could very well stand for us, representing both the unity and diversity of our symbiosis."

Published by Electa, the trilingual catalogue—French, Italian, English—has been designed by the artists as an album of memories and projects, bringing together images and documentary material relating to the works presented in the exhibition.